Asked by Anonymous

Do you think there should be a market rate for ang bao?

I understand if relatives who are poor gave 2 dollar, it's the thought that count afterall. However, if your very rich relatives also gave 2 dollar, what do you feel about it?

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    • Nicholes Wong
      Nicholes Wong, Diploma in Business Management at Nanyang Polytechnic

      Top Contributor (Feb)

      398 Answers, 529 Upvotes
      Answered on 08 Feb 2019

      I would feel abit sad but they are not obligated to give ang paos. Not like if they dont give ang pao, they will go in jail. At most, next time i give their kids and grandkids $2 as well.

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    • Isaac Chan
      Isaac Chan, Finance at NUS Business School

      Top Contributor (Feb)

      141 Answers, 184 Upvotes
      Answered on 13 Feb 2019

      Wow what an interesting question! I will try to frame my answer in the perspective of finance and economics.

      I think a market rate for ang bao is not very feasible from the lens of economics. Prices of any product or service is both affected by demand and supply forces, based on how society values it. The Invisible Hand theory of economics, would state that the price of a product or service will fall into equilibrium, where both customers and suppliers of a product or service can agree on a stated price. The problem with setting market rates arbitrarily is that either demand or supply will exceed one another, and the market will be in disequilibrium.

      This is precisely the scenario you laid out above, where the amount of money in the ang pow seems that it should be appropriated according to how wealthy the person giving out the ang pow is. Markets in disequilibrium aren’t a good sign, as external parties like governments need to step in and intervene. Thus, economists would say that the everyone is happiest when you simply let the market run on its own without setting market rates.

      Hence, everyone will probably be happier if they can just decide how much ang pow they want to give!

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    Jay Liu
    Jay Liu, Sleepyhead at Land of Dreams
    193 Answers, 346 Upvotes
    10 Feb 2019


    Reunion gatherings during CNY is more important than the amount in the ang pao to me.

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